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The Public Prosecution on Thursday referred Essam al-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party, to criminal trial on charges of slandering TV presenter Jihan Mansour.
Mansour filed a report with Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud on 17 October accusing Erian of slander while dozens of journalists and media professionals protested outside Mahmoud's office in solidarity.
In her complaint, Mansour said Erian accused her of accepting money in return for attacking the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP in a phone-in with her morning show on Dream Satellite channel on 14 October. Erian described this as "intellectual fascism and an unacceptable muzzling" of the Brotherhood.
“It is inappropriate for me to say that on air, but I do not want to ask you how much money you take to say what you are saying," Erian said.
Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud said FJP leaders and some media professionals are working to resolve the dispute.
Abdel Maqsoud told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the situation is being blown out of proportion and that the matter would be resolved within days without Erian going to court.
He also condemned Mahmoud's decision to refer Erian to trial, saying the public prosecutor is settling scores with Erian, the president and the Brotherhood because President Mohamed Morsy attempted to dismiss him.
Erian has filed a countersuit against Mansour, accusing her of slandering him on the Internet and requesting LE10,000 in compensation.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm